Ethics in business

Ethics in business is a concept that gets more and more in the heart of the strategy of major groups, as well as small or medium size companies. 

This concept represents rules and principles of ethics that are being applied within the economic and commercial business context.

Ethics in business often relies on an ethics code. This code refers to all the ethics principles and rules that manage and guide a professional activity. These standards are determining the minimum duties that are expected from professionals while achieving their activity. They enable professional practices to be regulated within a profession or line of business, with respect to moral values. Some professions have their own ethics codes. One of the most well known is the Hippocratic Oath.

Connections between ethics in business and corporate culture are real. Companies that develop a culture of transparency, responsibility for their acts, may be more likely to use these values within their ethics code in business.

That’s why social corporate responsibility is an extension of ethics in business.

References to the “stakeholder” concept - which are numerous in the talk of companies developing a CSR policy - are not trivial. They speak about companies wanting to accept their responsibilities and to actively contribute to the handling of them. The concept of sustainable development is thus within the companies’ communications and CRS policies. Indeed, sustainability is one of the major challenges of this 21st century. Companies fully measure the roles they have to play in the environmental area.

Ethical labels can help contextualize the ethical behavior of a company’s activities. They still remain ambiguous. Hence, some fair trade labels that are widespread suggest that absolutely all companies that get this label behave irreproachably, and that all of their profits actually make it to small operators and laborers. That is not always the case.

The question of ethics in business also involves a question of corporate behavior audits. Can the company claim that its actions are irreproachable if it’s not being controlled by an outside organization or if it doesn’t refer to a combination of common references? That’s the reason why the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was established. Its mission is to develop directives in terms of sustainable development that can be applied at the global level. This reference is one of the examples of assessment of corporate social policies.